Audi’s 5.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V10 engine is available in two states of tune, depending on whether you opt for the V10, or the V10 Performance model. In the former, it develops 562bhp at 8100rpm and 413lb ft of torque at a relatively lofty 6300rpm – fairly healthy increases from the pre-facelift car despite tweaks to ensure lower emissions, such as a petrol paticulate filter.
Move up to the V10 Performance and peak power increases to 612bhp at 8000rpm, with 428lb ft developed at 6600rpm. This variant too now meets EU6 BG emissions regulations and has to conform to WLTP fuel economy and CO2 tests, but is also more potent than its immediate predecessor – so it’s certainly not all doom and gloom for the future of great engines.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The improvements come courtesy in part thanks to a titanium valvetrain, with higher lift valves. With a near-9000rpm redline the V10 is scintillating, particularly in a world of relatively low-revving turbocharged engines.
The only gearbox option however is a seven-speed twin-clutch unit. It’s refined and smooth around town and the shift speeds both up and down the ratios in manual mode are astonishing. The next gear seems to be home before you’ve finished pulling the steering wheel-mounted paddles – though we’d still like to have a more interactive, manual option.
All-wheel drive is also standard, and Audi hasn’t yet confirmed if it’s to offer a Rear Wheel Series version of the facelifted R8, which as the name suggests, sent power to the rear wheels alone. The quattro system uses a clutch-type centre differential and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential
The R8’s structure is a hybrid of aluminium and carbonfibre, with double wishbones at both ends. Suspension changes for the facelift are designed to give the R8 a sharper feel than before, and Audi has revised its steering too, with the promise of more feedback.